After I shared a post on Facebook regarding Pitocin, I was asked about its use after birth. When I went to go grab some resources, I found I had no entries on hemorrhage! So here I am, making one. Below, at the bottom of this entry are a couple of articles that have some great alternative options for postpartum bleeding.
When I gave birth to my firstborn, before my placenta was born and I was preoccupied with my baby, I was given Pitocin as a precaution without my knowledge. When I asked about it, I was told not to worry so I assumed it was necessary and accepted what my doctor said. As a result, I agreed to the Pitocin after birth a second time when I had my next baby. Since learning more about it however, I’ve delivered my last five children using alternatives that I felt led to do with each of them instead. Due to the risks, including postpartum depression, associated with Pitocin, I personally prefer alternatives and therefore would only use it in a true emergency situation.
Pitocin is synthetic form of Oxytocin derived from the pituitary glands of mammals including humans, pigs and more. I believe it’s being overused, and the commonality of it’s use as induction despite the recommended caution in the insert explains why. The insert indicates that Pitocin should only ever be used if absolutely necessary because of the risks. You can read more about that by clicking on this link to a post on Facebook that I referenced on the page.
As I mention in Pregnancy & Birth Truths, the belief is that inductions carry little to no risk. However, a medically induced labor is triggering labor, mimicking a spontaneous labor but what’s actually happening is quite different. The use of Pitocin, with a constant drip, does not take into consideration what the body as a whole needs, whereas the communicators in the body determine how much and how often Oxytocin should be released. Therefore, the drugs cause more intense labor than the body is built for and at a pace the laboring woman has a difficult time keeping up with. For a VBAC, this can be especially dangerous because it can put added stress on the cesarean scar, and in some cases lead to uterine rupture. This includes what some deem as “natural inductions” because it is still pushing the body harder and encourages it to go farther than what the body knows it is capable of. However, even for a birth without prior c-sections, this can still lead to pain medication and other interventions.
The best way to address concerns of hemorrhage are to deal with it preventatively. Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Iron are especially important to help with blood flow, strengthening the uterus, and clotting during pregnancy. Red raspberry leaf tea can also help tone the uterus from 36wks until birth. Another way to prevent, is by being more hands off, and don’t force pushing as the birther is laboring and allowing the placenta to detach on its own.
After the baby is born, there are herbs you can take to manage the bleeding. Some examples include Angelica Root, Cayenne, and Motherwort. After the placenta is birthed (this is important due to its clotting ability), Shepherd’s Purse and Comfrey Root are also an option. Also, many have used a piece of their cord or placenta in their cheek to signal to the body that it needs to clot.
This link includes some recipes of tinctures for postpartum care, including hemorrhaging.
To learn more about variations of postpartum bleeding, click here!